Thus the scene is set for us as individuals and professionals to do what we can. Perhaps environmental change should be being driven by a bottom-up demand-led strategy. This is easily achieved if Greening actions show an immediate positive impact upon either the personal household or company accounts. The challenge is where a little effort or investment is required.
Complete Exhibitions has adopted the philosophy of 'Reduce|Re-use|Recycle'. Within the industry, there are areas requiring additional focus, especially in the areas of printing and the use of packing/wrapping materials. This also applies to the exhibitors who spend fortunes on design and production of brochures that may generally find their way to 'file 13' post-exhibition. Efficient methods of information dissemination must be implemented, coupled with handing out information brochures to only those visitors who will actually use them.
Another example of operational environmental focus is that Complete Exhibitions utilises optimal electronic communications, distributing exhibitor manuals and proposals via electronic means. Complete Exhibitions also implemented a web-based system a few years ago whereby all exhibitor orders are processed on-line, including all invoicing, creating a virtually paperless office.
It will be interesting to follow the adoption of the 'Greening-Deposit', introduced at Meetings Africa, to other Exhibitions. I am sure there may be teething challenges, but the show owner and the show manager should be deservedly applauded for such actions. It is a small deposit (R500) that is required, and the measures are simple - leave the stand area at the conclusion of the show clean; and place all waste in the appropriate designated bins.
Initiatives stand a greater chance of success when formulated in the form of partnerships. The Event Greening Forum launched in 2011 is a definite positive step forward, with one of its main objectives being to set minimum standards around event greening within the industry. It is supported by the seven founding Associations and their members. Organisations would be commended for researching and indeed following such practices.
Likewise, exhibition organisers must work together with clients, particularly when facing the investment of such proposals. Take on-site power requirements as an example: Suppliers must make significant investments in order to purchase sufficient stock of LED lighting. Such lighting is becoming standard on designer stands - but clients need to specify such lighting at the tender stage, in order to ensure a level cost assessment of all proposals, and expect to pay a slight premium (<5%) for such initiatives. Complete Exhibitions are currently reviewing our supplier agreements to assist with investment required to extend LED lighting from Designer Stands to complete shows.
Furthermore, organisers could specify that their respective electrical suppliers implement separate lighting and general power circuits - but this may result in the lengthening of the set-up period, with accompanying increase in the venue rental for the organiser. Organisers could also specify that dB Boards (particularly for the 'space-only' stands) should have in-built power meters - thus direct consumption can be accurately measured and costs recouped from exhibitors.
Nothing drives implementation more than potential cost savings.